We followed up with the founder of For the Love of Others Lauren Puryear, a non-profit that seeks to feed the hungry through extreme couponing, to talk about her goals and what’s next for the organization.
Q: So I hear that you’ve made your goal, and tell us what the goal is, then tell us a little bit about how it came about.
A: So about seven months ago, I set a goal to feed 30,000 meals to the hungry and homeless by my thirtieth birthday, which is September 14, 2017, all by using coupons – by extreme couponing. And we reached our goal within six months and so far we’ve fed over 32,000 meals.
Q: So I know that your family is very involved with this, and you feed people more than just in one local area. Tell me a little bit about where you feed people and how your family helps.
A: So, so far we have fed every state from New York City to Atlanta, Georgia – all of the states in between. And it has been a lot of fun. We’ve had some really good experiences traveling, and I really just enjoy what I do. My family is very involved – my mom, my sister, my son. A lot of my friends are involved now too. It’s just been a great experience, having people who genuinely care doing something with you – it means a lot.
Q: Now can other people volunteer with your organization? Or can they send you coupons? Or can they actually come help you hand out food? What can people do to help your organization?
A: Oh yes, people can do anything really. A lot of volunteers have helped us, in all of the different states that we’ve been to – we really depend on our volunteers, because volunteers are very important to what we do, because it takes a lot to not only coupon for the food, but to cook it and serve it, transport it. So there’s a lot that goes into it, so volunteers are like critical in our everyday operation. But people also send coupons to us – to our PO Box – which has been very, very helpful, because I’m able to get large quantities of food for little to no money.
When we went to Atlanta, Georgia, we fed 4,000 people and it only cost $12. It was pretty awesome – all by using coupon. We fed hot dogs, beans, chips, and a drink – and it was $12 for the whole transaction.
Q: Now you have an event coming up here in the near future.
A: My next launch is called ‘Push Past Poverty’ and the reason how I came up with that was because during these feedings I would see that everyone who was in the line wasn’t necessarily homeless. There were a lot of people who were hungry who were every day working Americans, college students, single moms, single dads, just people – like me and like you – and they were hungry, living paycheck to paycheck and living right below the poverty line and couldn’t afford to make ends meet.
So you know that really stuck with me, and I was like, wow – just to know that somebody is just one check away from being poor. One check away from being homeless. You know, that’s really heart breaking. And so to know that we can provide you a meal, which will feed you and give you peace of mind, and now you don’t have to worry about where your next meal is coming from, really, really made my heart glad. So my next initiative is to help that population. To help those people who are living at or below the poverty line, to help them overcome the obstacles and the barriers that we face financially – whether it’s budgeting, or teaching them how to coupon, and teaching them just how to utilize community resources, government assistance, things like that. Because a lot of people don’t know what’s available to them.
And so our launch celebration is going to be hosted by Chris Gardener who is from the ‘Pursuit of Happiness’, which Will Smith played – the 2006 film. So he’s going to be our guest speaker and Otis Anderson, the retired New York Giants player, he is our host. So I’m really excited about it – it’s on May 6 – we’re gonna have dinner, a lot of vendors, and a lot of just fun and a chance for people to win some really cool prizes.
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